Monday, July 5, 2010

Categories

Do we really like choosing sides? Issues that cause us to choose sides are usually avoided these days, aren't they? At least that's what I've recently noticed. Another thing I've noticed is that discussion over issues that cause us to take a radical stance has the potential to cause division and anger. It becomes frustrating and a lot of times, people just want to blend in with the crowd, completely avoiding confrontation. In my own life, especially in ministry and the church, I've seen opposing views cause much pain and much less unity, leading me to wonder if it's worth encouraging discussion at all.

Especially when it comes to the issues that relate to today’s culture (controversial social, economical, political, etc.), our culture seems to be quickly evolving into a morally relative mind set. Issues that encourage a moral choice are becoming less popular because they cause us to put things into one of two categories. They cause us to look at culture from a black and white perspective, which causes us to make decisions. We don't like to make decisions, because that classifies us. And we don't like to be classified, because that puts us into a category. Isn't it easier to just blend into culture? Isn't it more difficult to stand out? To contrast? To be polarized?

I'll admit, I may not always take the "black and white" position on some issues of life. It's not always so easy to take a side, and sometimes it's seems better to just agree to disagree, doesn't it? Choosing points of unity rather than increasing the distance of our division seems to me to be a better route to take, especially when it comes to the Church. But one area that I've become convinced of is the reality of good and evil. Think about it. Things like murder, child abuse, theft and rape are not just questions of preference; they are in fact “evil”, and no amount of moral relativism changes that.

This morning I was reading through Psalm 34 and came across a verse that sums up my thoughts on all of this. Verse 14 tells us to, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Think about this for a second. This tells us two very specific things: first of all, there is good and evil, and we have a choice to make in terms of which path we take. It also tells us that by choosing good, we promote peace and unity in our lives.

I don’t think anyone would argue that we witness a lot of evil these days. We are living in difficult times and there is always the potential to allow fear to move in and make itself at home in our souls. It seems that every day we are bombarded by what seems like an endless onslaught of injustice, violence, hypocrisy, anger, etc. The list goes on.

But scripture paints us a picture that clearly illustrates that we have a choice to make. We can conform to culture and follow the "moral" relative path that seems to be growing wider and wider, or we can venture onto the increasingly narrow path and choose what is good. But let's pause for a second and ask ourselves a question: Is that decision so easy to make?

Listen to what it says in Isaiah 5:20 & 21, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and clever in their own sight!" Remember what I said about moral relativism? Who sets the standard? Who decides what is right and what is wrong? Is there really such a thing as good and evil? Who are we to decide what is right for one person and what is wrong for another? That fact is, none of us have that authority or are capable of such decisions on our own. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45) In reality, all we can do is follow our own moral compass that, if grounded in God’s truth, will enable us to follow what is right, true and good in our lives.

3 comments:

john said...

"all we can do is follow our own moral compass that, if grounded in God’s truth, will enable us to follow what is right, true and good in our lives."
--Worth repeating! Great job Jake! Keep'em coming!

Cheryl Ensom Dack said...

Hi, Jake!

Good post.

I am working on the new issue of The Porpoise Diving Life and would love it if you would contribute. I'm not on fb so I realized I don't have a way to contact you! Just email me at cherylensomdack@gmail :).

Thanks!

Stephen Ley said...

Thanks for the good and true words. Isaiah is becoming my favorite book of the Bible.